Man, online BDSM communities can make online fandom communities look polite, open-minded, and well-connected with reality. Quotes from a (community-only) post in the Livejournal Male_Dom group:
for me, there are two types of punishment. there is the fun type of punishment, which involves some type of pain. i am a masochist and a pain slut, so any punishment involving pain isn't really a serious deterrent.
i know this makes some people cringe, the idea that punishment and play can be similar, can have the lines blurred. i know there is the idea that if you "play" at punishment, then how can the sub know for sure where the lines are, the boundaries?
the form of punishment that is serious, the form of punishment that would have me on my knees sobbing and begging for my dom's forgiveness. for me, the worst thing he could do is simply ignore me. he knows this. and this punishment is reserved for only the worst infractions. there is only one thing right now that i could do that would cause this punishment. i am *very* clear on what it is and i will not cross that line.
I think you're a little backwards there, lady: what makes me cringe isn't punishment being too much fun, it's the idea that you'd do it if it wasn't fun.
Discussions like this make me think two things:
1) Whoa. What Jon and I do isn't BDSM at all. We just tie each other up and hit each other and stuff. Apparently this is just frivolous outer trappings, and Real BDSM looks less like kinky sex and more like incompetent dog training.
(Some of the people doing bad-dog-trainer D/s don't even have kinky sex. That's really depressing.)
2) Whoa. Maybe BDSM is insane and unhealthy after all.
Although we switch in play quite a lot, Jon's definitely the more dominant one in our relationship, but... if he ever started ignoring me because I broke some rule he made, I wouldn't be on my knees begging and I sure as hell wouldn't feel that the whole game was fulfilling my sexual kinks somehow. The conversation would start with "look, if you're angry just fucking talk to me about it, dickhead" and would end with "I'm going now."
I just don't fundamentally believe that he's really any better than me or that he really has the right to tell me what to do (other than "yeah, bitch, and the balls too"--and even that's only when I feel like it). I have kinks but deep down I basically think of myself as a capable adult.
I guess I'm not a True Submissive (whippings and tyings and "forced" sex acts aside). I think I'm glad I'm not. And I'm a little bit disturbed that anyone is.